If you’re a fan of the site, you should already know how much I love the works of James Ellroy. He’s the Stephen King of my 30s, and I’m currently working my way through his entire oeuvre. (For anyone who’s counting: I’m on The Cold Six Thousand.)
Anyway, LA Confidential is easily the best film adaptation of his work, and a great deal of the movie’s success has to do with director Curtis Hanson. The dude made one of Ellroy’s best and most complex works really shine, and though I’m sad to see Mr. Hanson go — he passed away last week at the age of 71 — I think he would be proud of the film’s legacy.
I remember seeing the movie on video back when it was first released, and it was mind-blowing. The way it maneuvered race and politics and police-work was unlike I had ever seen. I’d grown up knowing cops were good, so seeing them be so bad — and so complex — knocked something loose with the way I looked at narratives.
There’s a great article over at Zimbio about him, and it’s well worth a read.
What hooked me on [the characters] was that, as I met them, one after the other, I didn’t like them–but as I continued reading, I started to care about them. ~Curtis Hanson
I agree wholeheartedly. For me, it’s Ellroy’s great skill as a writer. He creates these deplorable human beings, and then he gives you a reason to care for them, to root for them, to want to see them succeed, even if what it is they are doing is nothing but trouble.
If you haven’t seen LA Confidential, you’d best find a way. Right. Now. It’s amazing.